My little blogosphere nerds! I know you’re out there, and it’s time to step up.
While playing Scrabble today, Matt asked this question:
“If someone were falling, and someone else shoved them as they fell, would it slow them down?”
Karen and I thought that, yes, it would slow them down. I added that how much it slowed them down would depend on how far they had fallen when the shove occurred, and the total height of the fall after the shove (for instance, if there was enough distance left to fall that they were able to regain their original falling speed before impact).
And because diagrams ALWAYS help, I quickly drew one on our Scrabble tally sheet. Karen commented that drawing a diagram about a physics problem was a switch, as I usually only diagram out issues of reproduction, fertility, and breasts. Karen is often wrong, as I’ve noted on the diagram: Scrabble tallies are highlighted in blue with the final scores starred in green. I totally beat her because she is so wrong, and I diagram much, much more than the sexy things.
I would call Jake at Chapel Hill to ask him to answer Matt’s question, but I’m a bit annoyed with Jake today. Go ahead, ASK ME WHY and I will totally tell you.
But, blogosphere brainiacs, are we right? Would a mid-fall shove slow the faller down? Would the amount by which the fall was slowed depend on at what point the shove occurred; how much fall was left?
Help me, Obi Wans.
*Bethany’s comment made me rethink my phrasing, so let me rephrase:
Would the shove slow the momentum of the fall? When you fall, I assume it takes a certain amount of time to get up to top speed. The shove would slow that speed, right? So that you wouldn’t hit the ground at the same speed that you would have had you not been shoved?
For example, if you fell off a skyscraper, and someone/something shoved you BUT GOOD about 15 feet from the ground, would you hit the ground less hard than had you not been shoved?